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The Special Collections and Archives

What are “special collections” and “archives,” and how can these materials help me?
The terms “special collections” and “archives” are often used interchangeably when speaking of collection repositories and collections. Their definitions, however, vary greatly based on collection scope. An “archive” is a repository of records that are often associated with the history of a particular person, organization, or intuition. A “special collections” includes a broader array of formats and themes including rare books, manuscripts, and other unique materials.  Together, these collections can be used to support a variety of projects as both primary and secondary sources. These unique materials can also lead you to question, analyze, and decipher key areas of research. 

Beyond access, the Special Collections and Archives staff can help you: 

  • Explore and find resources
  • Integrate primary sources into your project
  • Develop your primary source research skills
  • Narrow down your topic